wobbliscott - Member
population control is not on any countries political agenda as far as I know.
Well. It kind of is. Birth rates tend to drop as prosperity rises and health improves (reducing child mortality and increasing lifespans). Look at us- we don't need a 2 child law, we're already hovering around the replacement rate. Population's rising because longevity's improving but that should sort itself out over time (it's a rubber-banding effect, until people stop dying anyway).
The trouble with nuclear... I'm comfortable with a nuclear future, but the maths gives me trouble. Our existing reactors are mostly old and creaky... We've got 3 new ones in planning (and no guarantee they'll all be built) and they're not going to be in place before the oldest reactors are retired, and even once they're up and running they don't produce as much power. So we have shrinking nuclear generation currently, not growing.
I did some back-of-envelopes numbers a while back and it seems like we need about 50 new reactors of this type, if nuclear is to be a fossil fuel replacement, and we need them yesterday. But it takes a long time (10 years~) to get a new one running, even assuming we had the capacity to build 50 simultaneously, which I doubt. So £140bn by the government's very optimistic figures (which no generating company agrees with), with no consideration of running costs, end of life, staffing (there are not that many qualified staff) grid connection, fuelling, etc etc.
Turn it around a little, more realistic to think we'll build a bunch at a time. What's the lifespan of a new reactor? 40 years apparently for the Wylfa design so we need to initiate a new reactor every 10 months or so in order to get them all built before the first of the new ones shuts down, then continue on that basis indefinitely (barring design improvements of course). And then we also start decommissioning at the same rate- looking at existing cases, 5 years is considered a fast turnaround for decom.
All these numbers are shonky, but I went with favourable estimates, the real case is probably worse. So if nuclear's the answer, it's a bit of an iffy one. Not as iffy as trusting in the fusion deus ex machina though.